Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Celluloid in the Spotlight

So this is going to be a reoccurring feature, and I thought that the title sounded better than movie of the month. I thought it would be fun to talk up some of the classic films I've enjoyed over the years and try to get other people to appreciate them as well.

My first pick is Charade, starring Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Walter Mattheau, and James Coburn. It's a suspense/thriller from 1963, directed by the great Stanley Donen. Sadly, it was recently remade as The Truth About Charlie with Mark Walberg and Thandie Newton in the Grant and Hepburn roles. No offense to those two actors, they are both very attractive and quite talented, but really people. Who are you kidding? Nothing can be added by remaking this film. There really should be a law the prohibits any Audrey Hepburn movie from being remade. So far they've committed this atrocity twice, the first time being when they remade Sabrina. The same could also be said for Cary Grant films, although I must confess that Denzel Washington was outstanding in the Preacher's Wife which was the remake of the Bishop's Wife. But where was I? Oh yes, Charade.

This is not an action packed film by any means, nor is it particularly scary. However, it has a tightly crafted plot, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, and enough moments to ratchet up the viewer's tension level to make it quite enjoyable. If you are like me and like movies without gaping plot holes, that are well acted, have an interesting plot, witty dialogue, and a good mystery you will enjoy Charade too. I highly recommend it, and fully intend to purchase it in the near future.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Substandard Piece of Citrus*

This past Sunday I went with a group of friends to see Spiderman-3. While we certainly had an enjoyable afternoon, the movie was less than impressive. The visual effects were fantastic, and the acting was solid, but the movie was too long and had too many plot lines going on to do any of them justice. The story line with Sandman is superfluous. The over arching theme that they were going for was that revenge is all consuming and makes us nasty (how novel!), but as revenge elements are present in ALL the other story lines it wasn't necessary to have Sandman in the movie. (And Thomas Hayden Church was in desperate need of lip balm throughout the entire movie. You know you have lost the audience when that is the sort of thing they focus on.) It would have been much better to fully develop the other story lines, particularly the one featuring Venom (oh Topher Grace, so deliciously wicked in this film), and saved Sandman for the potential 4th film. Additionally, there were quite a few cheddar moments (look! Spiderman appears in front of a giant American flag on his way to save the day!), and an overall heavy-handedness by the filmmakers that made most of our group resentful. We are not coming into this thing cold people! For pete's sake the first two movies were just aired on network t.v. last week. Enough with the flashbacks! Enough with the exposition! We don't need it spelled out for us. While this film was not nearly as disappointing as X-Men 3 it was still not worth the exorbitant price that the movie theater charged. $9.25....for a matinee, where do they think we are New York?

Additionally there is a certain element of selfishness in people the prompts them to bring their small children and/or babies to these films. We had at least three crying babies and two kids who wouldn't be still or quiet. Not only is this unfair to your fellow movie goers, but it is also unfair to the children. It is unreasonable to expect a four year old to sit still for almost two and half hours watching a movie that they couldn't possibly understand. Not to mention, men disintegrating into sand, men being covered with black ooze, numerous fights, explosions, deaths, and women plummeting to narrowly adverted death are the things of childhood nightmares.

*a substandard piece of citrus: direct reference to a lemon wedge that exploded across a table when a dear friend attempted to squeeze it into her water glass. Now refers to anything we view as disappointing or shoddily made.